Alva growing Stronger

Monday, June 18, 2018

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Though he was surrounded by music growing up in Clarendon and St Ann, Oliver Black never thought about becoming a professional artiste until a visit to Scandinavia 10 years ago.

Known in music circles as Alva, he has since recorded a number of songs for various producers, including Garfield Cowan's Fort Lauderdale-based Nature's Way label.

Show Love and May Not Be, two of his songs, are on Cowan's Reggae Hits Vol 1 compilation album which was released in May.

“Our thing is to keep things real and conscious because the goal has always been to inspire people,” said Alva.

Most of his songs, including Stronger and Hour Glass (with Wayne Wonder), are produced by Nature's Way. But he has freelanced for other labels such as Cut Stone Records and Unity Yawd Family, both from St Ann, which he considers home.

Alva was actually born in Spanish Town and raised in Sandy Bay, Clarendon. It was during his time in Clarendon that he discovered the rebel tones of Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, as well as the mellow flow of Cocoa Tea.

Yet it took a trip to Denmark to sway his mind to a career in music. He went there at the invitation of Sean Mike, a Jamaican producer who lives in that country, and ended up cutting a number of songs for him.

The tracks were never released, but the experience whetted Alva Black's (as he was known then) appetite for more recording when he returned to Jamaica.

“After doing the songs it build mi confidence. Mi sey, 'dis is a road mi waan tek',” he explained.

Believe in Me, released five years ago on the Nature's Way-produced Sweet Personally beat, was his breakthrough song. It gained traction through the rhythm getting strong play in clubs in New York and Jamaica on the back of Wonder's Let Me Love You Tonight and Wake Up by Jah Cure.

Stronger is also the title of Alva's first album, scheduled for release this year.

— Howard Campbell

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